Later diagnosis, and associated advanced stage of cancer at diagnosis, has been associated with poor survival in breast, lung and colorectal cancers. Culturally diverse people diagnosed with cancer in Australia often have poorer outcomes and tend to present with more advanced disease. Although the impact of cancer beliefs of culturally diverse communities on the uptake of cancer screening in Australia has been explored, there is a paucity of research exploring how these beliefs affect symptom appraisal, help-seeking and diagnostic pathways
The aim of this study is to identify factors impacting timely diagnosis of cancer in people of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds with a recent diagnosis of colorectal, breast or lung cancer.
A purposive sample of 45 participants, including 15 Italian, 15 Vietnamese and 15 Non-CALD (as a comparator group) are being recruited. Data are being gathered by bi-lingual researchers or interpreters via individual in-depth interviews and validated symptom questionnaires. Medical records audits are confirm key dates along the participant’s diagnostic pathways. Data is being analysed using thematically identify factors that may contribute to longer symptom appraisal and later help-seeking. The Total Diagnostic Interval (i.e. time from first symptom to diagnosis) and its sub-components (symptom appraisal, help-seeking, primary care, referral and specialist intervals) are also being calculated. A mixed methods matrix analysis will then be used to identify factors contributing to longer and shorter diagnostic intervals in CALD and non-CALD cancer patients.
Factors contributing to delays in help-seeking for cancer symptoms are related to low health literacy, cancer taboos and stoicism.
The findings from the study will inform the development of interventions that will be implemented in a community campaign aiming to facilitate timely diagnosis of cancer in these populations.